On Day 16 of our “Christmas Goodies,” we shall reflect on “The Ancestors of Jesus”
WHAT IT IS?
The Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke mention the Genealogy of Jesus – the Ancestors of Jesus
Christmas is a Family Feast – and we are reminded, every Christmas, to also look at the Family of Jesus – thank the Lord for His Graces and open our eyes to see the Providence of God
WHAT ELEMENTS CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS CHRISTMAS GOODIE -“THE ANCESTORS OF JESUS?”
- The Genealogy of Jesus is one of the finest treasures of God’s Grace and Providence
St Matthew (1: 1-17) and St Luke (3: 23-38) present the Genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Most often, these are Bible verses either skipped or overlooked or just read for the sake of reading. They could be called as the “forgotten chapter of the Christmas Story”.
The names in it sound too obscure, their pronunciation beyond comprehension, their purpose highly hazy – these are some of the common excuses we find, in avoiding to read or reflect on the accounts of the Genealogy
But we must realise that in the account of the Genealogy, is buried the marvellous working of God’s Grace and His Amazing Providence – the manner in which the “streams of God’s Grace flows through the ordinary and the great, the mighty and simple people”
The Genealogy teaches us open our eyes to see the ways of God working in our lives- hidden yet awesome; silent yet splendid
- The two accounts of Genealogy are not contradictory; rather they are two perspectives to show Jesus as the Son of David
There are two accounts of Genealogy in the Gospels: St Matthew, which starts with Abraham; St Luke, which starts with Adam
Apparently, the two accounts look to be contradicting each other
But on closer look, we find?
• St Matthew traced the family line through Joseph, whereas Luke traced it through Mary.
This was because Gospel of Matthew, being written to the Jews, had a legal requirement to show Jesus descending from the father, who belonged to the line of King David. This account also made sure it kept the prophecy in Jer 22:24-30 (“For none of his sons will succeed in occupying the throne of David or ever succeed in ruling over Judah.?)
Luke’s version also shows Jesus as the Son of David, coming through his son Nathan. Thus, both the accounts show that Jesus, as the Son of David, had the right to the throne of Israel
- The Genealogy mentions some “not expected” people – yet the Messiah was born in this family!
The Genealogy mentions 5 women
• Tamar: Disguised herself as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law Judah (Gen 38)
• Rahab: A Gentile, prostitute; she helped the Jewish spies to hide and to escape from the enemies ( Josh 2)
• Ruth: A Gentile, with the background of a family who offered themselves to pagan gods
• The wife of Uriah: The Gospel doesn’t even mention her name; suffered abuse by David, the great King of Israel.
• Mary: A simple woman from Nazareth, who was found to be with child, before the marriage.
All these five women were considered dis”graced” – some gentiles, some involved in sexual immorality, some finding themselves in situations of family disgrace.
Yet the Messiah is born in this family – to show that God’s “Grace” can wash away every Dis”grace”!
It shows that God can write straight, with crooked lines!
- The Genealogy is also a lesson to the self-righteous people
Besides the mention of the apparently “not-pleasant women’, the list also mentions of kings, many of whom were unfaithful, of idolaters, of people without morals etc.
The Family Tree of Jesus is really not a pretty picture; it looks to be “very unclean”
Yet, St Matthew’s Gospel, written to the Jews, gives a message that it is not self-righteousness that wins salvation (as thought by many Pharisees, Scribes and Jewish leaders); it is God’s grace and mercy, along with our co-operation to His Will.
- The Genealogy gives us the great message of hope
We may have a past that is hurting us – either due to our biological family or due to our own experiences of life – a past that is sinful and we wish to forget; a past that is painful or abused; a past that has experienced humiliations and rejection
Yet, the Genealogy teaches us the big lesson that all our past can be cleansed and healed, by the mighty presence of Jesus.
Yes, as Cardinal Van Thuan says, “the river of history, full of sinners and criminals, becomes a source of pure water, as we approach the fullness of time. With Mary, the Mother and Jesus, the Messiah, all generations will be renewed again”
- The Genealogy teaches that Jesus was very much historical – shared our world.
Jesus was truly Divine. But He was also truly Human
This sharing in our humanness is reflected in His line of ancestors.
In Jesus, we have a God, who is not distant or away from us – but Someone, Who is deeply intimate with us, involved in our lives and sharing our joys and pains of life.
WHAT RESOLUTIONS CAN I PRACTISE TODAY?
Today I will seek to thank God for my family – whatever be the experiences I have had – and understand that God has a plan for me, always – the best one
Today I will seek to not judge people due to their sinful lifestyle; instead pray for them, if possible try to bring them to the ways of the Lord and above all, reflect on my own life to sanctify it more and more.
Lord, help me to know that You always can ‘write straight with crooked lines’ and that I can always hope in Your Providence, Amen!
MARANATHA – COME, LORD JESUS!
We welcome you into our hearts! God Bless!